Goechala Pass Trek is the most popular Trek in Sikkim. Sikkim is a small state in India. Sikkim was a small Kingdom ruled by the Chogyals. It became a part of India in the early 70's. Sikkim is a landlocked state bordered by Nepal Bhutan Tibet and the Indian State of West Bengal on all its side. Sikkim is basically a Buddhist State and as a result one can find old monasteries dating back to 1700's. It has been said Guru Rinpoche brought and propagated buddhism in Sikkim when travelling to Tibet through sikkim. More than 60% of the land mass in Sikkim falls in the Himalayan mountain as a result there are a couple of high altitude treks concentrated in the sikkim Himalayas.
The Goechala Pass Trek is one such popular high Altitude eight days Trek in Sikkim Himalaya. One needs to have an additional two to three days for Travelling. For foreign Nationals there has to be more than two participants than only the Trekking Permits will be issued. One has to go through a Travel or Trekking Agency to avail of the Trekking Permit. Yuksom is the Trek head for the Goechala Pass Trek and takes about 5hours drive from Gangtok. One has to drive through Singtam, Ravangla and Tashiding to reach Yuksom. Yuksom is a small village on the fringes of the Kanchenjunga National Park with a concentration of few Lodges and Hotels which caters mainly to trekkers embarking on the Goechala Pass Trail. Yuksom used to be the old capital of Sikkim. It was here the Three Holy monks came together and Choose the first Chogyal of Sikkim. There is a coronation Throne and a monastery to prove this fact in Yuksom.
The Kanchenjunga National Park office is located at the entrance of the National Park leading to Dzongri. Every Trekker is required to pay the required fees here before proceeding on to Dzongri and beyond. It is mandatory for all participants to register with the local Police station and provide them with a fitness certificate issued by a competent authority.
Day 1 : Trek from Yuksom starts on a gentle level ground through lush green forests of the Trek till Bakhim.
It is advisable to Trek slowly because of the gain in altitude as one will be Trekking from 1760m to 2828m and that is a gain of more than 1000m in a day. After an hours trek after lunch the Trek route is a straight uphill till Bakhim campsite. Bakhim is a small camping place with a forest rest house and a small hut which belongs to the Chowkidar of the of the Forest Department.The Camp site is on small clearing above the Guest House. Normally all Trekkers proceed on to Tchoka a kilometre above. Tchoka is small settlement with a couple of trekkers hut and a monastery.This used to be the rehabilitation centre for Tibetan refugees escaped from Tibet. Now the National Park Authorities have evacuated the settlers and only a few Trekkers hut remains testimony to it.
Day 2 : The Days Trek to Dzongri is about 9Km and the Trekking trail is on uneven ground through thick Rhododendron silver fur and magnolia forests of the Kanchenjunga National Park. One has to Trek slowly as the altitude gain is more than the recomended. If one is not sure than it is advisable to put up camp at Phedang below Dzongri. A nights halt at Phedang will do a whole lot of Good to get acclimitized. Lunch at Phedang and than a steep climb up the hill of one hour leads to Deorali Dara. A hillock where the uphill ends and then one enters the Dzongri Valley. On a clear day the Kanchenjunga Range starts looking mesmerizing from this point onwards. Gentle walk of about 3Km through the valley leads to Dzongri camp site. There is a Trekkers hut at Dzongri. Hut is very basic therefore every one opts for a Tent. Only during emergencies do trekkers use this trekkers hut.
Dzongri at 3950m is on the tri junction. Towards the east is the Chaurikhang valley & HMI Base Camp and the other one leads northwards to Thansing Valley and Goechala Pass. A rest day in Dzongri recomended to get better acclimitized to the rarified air and is beneficial as one treks to higher altitude. We were lucky to have a wonderful weather,the mountain view was mind blowing. Climbed Dznogri Top in the evening and in the morning for the wonderful view of the Kanchenjunga Range. The Range is very close from here onwards. In front is the Kabru sisters,Rathong,Freys Peak and in the middle is the Forked Peak and the main peak of Kanchenjunga.To the Right is Mt.Pandim flanked by Jopuno,Thingchingkhang,Lama Lameni and Mt.Narsing. Freys peak lies in the Chaurikhang Valley & Jopuno & Thingchingkhang in the Thansing valley is open for Expedition. These Expeditions are classified as Alpine Expeditions. Side Trek to Dzongrilla Pass on the rest day is advisable as it helps to get acclimitized. This Pass leads to the Chaurikhang Valley and the HMI Base Camp. One can get clear views of the Kabru sisters and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Base Camp from Here. Dzongri at 3950m enters into alpine vegetation.From here onwards the hill sides a bereft of tall Trees.Only cryptomeria bushes can be found everywhere.
Day 3: Rest Day at Dzongri. Early morning trek to Dzongri Top for the views of the Mountain Range at Sunrise was awsome. From the view point at very close range is the Kanchenjunga Range. Returned back to camp site for breakfast. Aftyer a brief rest took a side trek to Dzongrilla Pass. It is always interesting to walk around in the himalayan hill sides. It is kind of meditation. Thinking of nothing but just wandering around. Gives one peace of mind.
Day 4: Dzongri to Thansing...The 7Km Trek starts on a level ground on alpine hill side. The mesmerizing sight of the Kanchenjunga Range in front makes this trek really pleasant. Two Mt.Pandim and Mt.Thingchingkhang.
Day 5: Thansing to Lamunee is an Easy 3Km Trek. Campsite is at the entrance of the Samiti Lake. There are no trekkers hut in Lamunee except for a small shed constructed by the Kanchenjunga National Park for porters to take refugee from the cold mountain air. One can take a side trek to Laxmi Pokhari and reach Lamunee by taking a detour by the base of Mt.Pandim. This is also interesting Path if one is not too tired.
|Samiti Lake at 4200m|
|Goechala Pass (4990m)|
Day 7: Trek back to Tchoka takes a little detour. From Kookrochoong the path heads staright towards Phedang below Dzongri. Trekking trail is through dense Silver Fur Magnolia and Rhododendron Forests. This is a pleasant walk in the forest until Phedang. Lunch at Phedang and then a slow downhill trek through forests and uneven track brings us to Tchoka. A night halt at Tchoka found us sleeping on a bed.
|Tchoka Camp Site|
Day 8: The 13Km Trek back to Yuksom is on the same Track. It is always a pleasure to come back to civilization after the harsh weather in the mountains. A nice warm bath and warm food cooked on fire is a welcome sight.
Day 9: Driving back to Bagdogra Airport through Tashiding and Jorethang. Entered the state of West Bengal at Melli. Foreign Nationals will have to declare themselves at the Immigration office before exiting Sikkim.
Goechala Pass Trek is a Camping Trek and is a Trek to be Trekked once in a life time. The Trek Route takes you to the foot of the 3rd.Highest Peak in the world, Mt.Kanchenjunga. Sikkim Himalayas is really beautiful and the mountain views from Dzongri and Zemathang is a sight to behold. One can even opt for a longer version of the Trek starting from Nambu below Pelling. This is a 13 Days Trek and the Trek route is on the singalila Ridge which enters Dzongri through the Chaurikhang Valley.
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